HEDGE-FUND bosses rarely double as cult authors. But an out-of-print book by Seth Klarman, the boss of the Baupost Group, sells for as much as $2,499 on Amazon. A scanned version of “Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor” has been circulating around trading floors. One hedgie likens Mr Klarman’s book to the movie “Casablanca”: it has become a classic.
Why are Wall Street traders such avid readers of Mr Klarman? Baupost, which manages $25 billion, is the ninth-largest hedge fund in the world. Since 2007 its assets have more than tripled, as other funds have wobbled. Baupost has had only two negative years (in 1998 and 2008) since it launched in 1982, and is among the five most successful funds in terms of lifetime returns (see chart), a particularly striking record given its risk aversion. Long closed to new investors, Baupost counts elite endowments like those of Yale, Harvard and Stanford among its clients.